Giving direct support to today’s generation is a gateway to creating a domino effect for the ones to come.
While Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have seen an increase in aid and exposure over the years, Kendra Bulluck is leading a sports event that brings the community together to amplify the impact.
A Fan Favorite's Grand Return
Following a hiatus of over 40 years, Bulluck obtained the rights to the Orange Blossom Classic (OBC) — a historic annual postseason college football game between HBCU teams. The executive director and entrepreneur being behind its major comeback marked her as one of the few women to own the exclusive rights to a major sports property, as well as the second woman to own an HBCU sports property.
As a mother of two boys involved in sports and with over 18 years of experience in business development, acquisition, and management, Bulluck felt ready to take on breathing new life into the classic game.
“What prepared me was time,” Bulluck shared with AfroTech. “This was a project that I worked on for a little over a decade. During that time, I was able to really learn what it required — like networking and who you had to have at the table to help make decisions. And reaching out to the universities, having conversations on a daily basis with individuals that were already in that space.”
She continued: “So when the timing actually came where I was able to secure the rights and be able to negotiate the contracts, the knowledge that I had gained over that time helped me to navigate those uncharted waters.”
Impact Created In Just A Year
In its return last year, OBC raised over $350,000 in scholarship funds for high school students interested in attending an HBCU, and an estimated economic impact of $15 million, according to information shared with AfroTech.
“This year, we will continue our mission of raising funds for scholarships by having a great time,” Bulluck said about the celebrity-filled weekend event.
The 2022 Orange Blossom Classic
Coming back for its second go-round on Labor Day weekend, this year is about to be even bigger. In addition to the college football game, the premier HBCU experience will feature a welcome luncheon, golf tournament, careers in sports and entertainment symposium, an Amazon career recruitment fair, a battle of the bands, and more.
What’s more, Ready Life — led by Ashley D. Bell and Bernice A. King — will be the presenting sponsor of the nationally televised game. As previously shared by AfroTech, the fintech platform aims to create generational wealth for the Black community through homeownership.
“Sports are changing so much. So, we kind of have a responsibility to move with the time,” Bulluck said. “What I mean by that is we want to make sure that this is not just a football game but it’s a week of events. And then, eventually, an opportunity for people to experience the Orange Blossom Classic year-round. Whether it be through youth football games or youth community outreach.”
The kickoff game is between Florida A&M University and Jackson State University. In 2021, JSU took home the championship win.
The 2022 Orange Blossom Classic will be hosted on Sept. 4 in Miami Gardens, FL.
To learn more about the event, click here.